Artificial Grass Infill- Silica Sand

Artificial Grass Infill- Silica Sand

What is silica sand?

Silica sand is a very fine and dry infill sand used when installing artificial grass. Derived from naturally occurring quartz, silica sand is purely natural containing the grains of small, angular granules of sand that are made up of silica. Once the grass has been laid, a layer of silica sand is spread over the top of brushed up artificial grass. The sand settles to the bottom of the grass blades and sits on top of the backing. It doesn’t change the appearance of your grass when it is evenly applied, and it won’t make the grass dirty. Additionally, the sand won’t transfer to your feet when the grass is walked on, neither will it blow away.

What is the purpose of infill sand?

Infill sand serves a few different purposes. When applying silica sand, it covers the top of the turf backing, protecting it from the sun. Artificial turf, like any surface that encounters ultraviolet rays from the sun, is at increased risk of damage and deterioration. Silica sand infill has ultraviolet repelling features that protects the backing from the sun and extends the life of the grass. Along with protecting the backing from sun damage it also reduces the overall temperature of the artificial grass.

Most importantly, infill sand applied over artificial turf keeps the blades of grass standing upright and remain stable even when pressure is applied. This gives the grass a three-dimensional look like natural grass. The artificial grass fibres that are stitched into the backing lay flat when the grass is first unrolled. Brushing up the grass and leaving it in the sun are ways of helping the blades to stand up. Infill sand then helps to support the blades at the backing, helping it to stay standing and return to an upright position when walked on. Infill sand also makes the artificial grass look more natural as the blades are kept upright and spread out.

Infill sand also weighs down the artificial grass, preventing wrinkling, lifting and movement. Without silica sand, the artificial grass can sound crunchy when walking on the grass. This is the sound of the backing against the cracker dust substrate. Once the artificial grass is weighed down by the infill sand the crunching sound should be eliminated. Silica sand will not blow out of the grass, even if you use your garden leaf blower to remove debris.

Why use kiln-dried silica sand and not regular white wash sand?

The silica sand used for artificial grass infill is very fine and dry. This means it settles easily down into the grass when applied in dry conditions. The particles are round and semi-round, as opposed to whitewashed sand that has particles with sharp, irregular edges. This means silica sand won’t damage or cut the artificial grass blades with friction, such as when it is walked on.

Some other benefits of using silica sand are that it does not encourage the germination of weeds. It also does not absorb water, which helps with the drainage of water through your artificial turf. Silica sand infill also helps to protect the backing of the grass from being clawed at by your cat and dog.  

Do you always need to use silica sand?

There are many different types of artificial grass. Some turfs have a curly thatch layer, and some don’t. Sports grasses, such as on a soccer field, have a longer straight yarn and no curly yarn. Sports turf is infilled using a rubber pellet infill which adds cushioning to the grass for use in play.

The evolution of artificial grass over the years has resulted in high quality turfs that some suppliers will suggest that turfs that are thick and curly enough to not require infill. While the thick and quality artificial turf may better stand on its own now, it is always beneficial to add infill sand.

How do you spread the sand over the artificial grass?

We sometimes use a large drop spreader to apply the sand effortlessly and evenly to the brushed-up grass. But another method that we use and that is great for DIY installation is to cut slits in the bottom of the sandbag. You then move the bag quickly and evenly backwards and forwards over the area. After, you can use a stiff broom or brush to evenly distribute the sand into the turf. This helps the silica sand settle deep at the bottom of the artificial turf. You need to ensure the artificial turf is completely dry before spreading the silica sand, otherwise the silica sand will clump together, preventing the sand from falling to the bottom of the pile.